The New Year is here at last. Yet, parts of it don’t seem so new: a seemingly never-ending pandemic, plenty of social and political division, an unpredictable economy with still unpredictable changes in store for how companies organize to effectively grow, and innumerable transformations in how to best serve customers and clients through all of this.
The newest development of all was, of course, the most unwelcome: a surge of political turmoil that led to a violent insurrection at the US capitol on January 6th, days before the president-elect is sworn in.
All this leads me to a general question for you, the reader, as well as for our clients, both current and future: what are you doing to embrace the future? Because we all know that, despite the Groundhog Day-like repetitiveness of daily life, permanent changes have taken place here—and there are plenty more still to come.
We can see some of these changes in our own lives, organizations, employees, customers and clients. This is not just because of the obvious changes of a new president and a new Covid-19 vaccine. What we are seeing is that the economy has changed. Our people have changed—which means that customers and consumer behavior have changed as well.
According to a study featured in Chris Weissman’s recent article, consumer behavior has shifted in dramatic fashion. Audiences are buying more online, are more responsive to online ads, and have overall increased their online engagement several-fold from just a few years ago. This is not just due to the pandemic and a work-from-home culture but is part of a long-term gradual shift since the 2000s, from a brick-and-mortar-based economy to a digital-centric marketplace. As just one proof point, in the third quarter of 2020, Amazon earned $96.15 billion in revenue as sales jumped 37%. The company also posted a net income of $6.3 billion in the quarter, triple the number from the same quarter of the previous year.
As Natalie Ross pointed out in her article, this means that the manner in which brands sell to and engage with audiences must transform to meet the times. Online presence isn’t just about producing a bit of additive brand power anymore—digital identity is starting to resemble the central nervous system of a brand in terms of marketing, impact, and actual sales.
And if your digital identity is fast becoming the proxy for your overall brand, are you really set up for that?
At TopRight, we’re doing the brand crafting and market research to discover what really works for our clients in the 2020s, helping clients meet new developments in the best way possible. In fact, we’re practicing what we preach by going through this exercise ourselves, starting with taking a clear look at how we approach these questions, and planning our own changes in how we project our brand identity and how we tell our own brand story, in the same way we do with our clients.
So, what do you have planned for 2021? What we have found to be true, and I am guessing you have as well, is that our customers and clients of all types want to connect with the stories, the brands, that help them navigate through all of these changes themselves. What are you doing to ensure this is the year when you acknowledge the changes you’ve experienced, and seek to use those changes to deepen connections and engagement with your audience? To let me know your thoughts on this, reach out to me at TopRight, follow me on Twitter @bill_fasig, or send me a message on LinkedIn.
Thanks for reading. Sign up for our blog! And stay tuned, as we will be writing about “place branding” for the next eight weeks leading up to our digital forum, Place Branding: Crafting the Story of Where You Live, on Wednesday February 24th at noon. Details and invites to come!